A look at Governor Deal’s employment claims in the State of the State address

In Wednesday’s State of the State address, Governor Nathan Deal credited his administration’s policies with producing a strong rebound in jobs in the state:

According to the federal department of labor, in the three years since I became governor, there have been approximately 217,000 new jobs added in our state, and major job announcements are almost a weekly occurrence. As a result, our state unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 5 years! […]

Well today, more Georgians have jobs than at any other time since October 2008. We are getting people in our state back to work at a faster rate than the national average. For those 217,000 or so Georgians who now have jobs, they know what the sting of the frozen economy feels like. They lived through it. But for them, the freeze has ended.

I’m not certain of the reference point being used for that number of 217,000 jobs created since Deal became governor, but he could plausibly claim a higher number.

Here are some estimates for non-farm payroll employment for a few key months according to the data available here:

Nov. 2007: 4.206 million – the peak of employment in the state
Oct. 2008: 4.095 million – the date Deal references in the speech
Jan. 2011: 3.806 million – the month Deal took office
Nov. 2013: 4.096 million – the latest estimate available from the Ga. Dept. of Labor

I’ve noted before on this site that Georgia’s year-over-year job growth has been pretty good lately — a healthy 2.3 percent according to the latest estimates. That is faster than the national average, as Deal claims in the speech.

But job growth has been heavily concentrated in the Atlanta metro area, with most other Georgia metros showing sluggish growth or even losing jobs over the past 12 months. Perhaps more importantly, every single metro area in the state has seen the work force shrink over the last year. Click here for more.

And, despite an increasing population, we’re still over 100,000 jobs off the 2007 peak of employment in the state. The U.S. as a whole will likely surpass the pre-recession peak of employment sometime in mid-2014, but, even with continued growth at the current rate, Georgia is unlikely to reach its pre-recession employment level until late 2014 or 2015.


  1. saltycracker says:

    Someone will take the time to compare the jobs # to population, growing numbers on various subsidies like disability, unemployment, or off the radar, but that might not be so incumbantly feel good.

    The place to be for job potential seems to be OTP metro Atlanta. But anywhere in Georgia looks ok if you already have a steady trade or are retired.

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